First publishedin ITS International
Iteris, Inc.'s Abbas Mohaddes talks about his plans for ITS America this year
Amplification and expansion of already existing outreach and education efforts are the cornerstones of Abbas Mohaddes' strategy for his time as chair of the ITS America
Board of Directors.
The president and CEO of Iteris
, Inc. sees a fine modern history on which to build, he says.
"This year strategies include new and enhanced member services as well as an expanded education effort for a broader audience, working through such opportunities as this year's ITS World Congress
and ITS America Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida as well as other channels." Advocacy of advanced mobility and safety programmes which embrace the use of technology, in line with reauthorisation of the Federal Transportation Bill, will form a major part of his agenda.
"In particular," he states, "I want to see greater involvement in projects which measure and articulate ITS benefits that will include a large element of international cooperation with ITS Japan
- ITS Europe. We will reach out to organisations worldwide which share common areas of application."
"Travel information services, transportation system performance measurement/management, together with Connected Vehicle are particular areas which are gaining traction. From a technology standpoint, ITS America will be looking to offer adequate emphasis to help members move these technologies forward. It's an appropriate task in light of reauthorisation, to advocate strongly for the implementation of ITS technology and services in all infrastructure improvement programmes, be they at the local, state or federal level.
"In many respects, this all represents a continuation of activities which the Society has undertaken in recent years.
Reauthorisation heightens awareness, however." "We are also expanding our role and activities regarding standards, an area that our members welcome and benefit from. I truly believe that advancement and collaboration in international standards directly correlates with the success of ITS in broad and area-wide deployments"
Advocacy and education
Advocacy and education are areas which need significant expansion, according to Mohaddes.
"In the last few years we have done a good job on the legislative outreach front and we need to build on that and magnify it. As an organisation, we don't have the resources to mount mass-media campaigns. That means we have to be more creative in terms of outreach. We're going to be looking to identify projects which will allow us to do that with members, city councils and the like; this year, the more ITS projects we can get involved, in light of the upcoming Transportation Bill, the more people will benefit. To an extent, that work will again build on the excellent relationships which we already have.
"Reauthorisation represents something of a frustration. Over the last two or three years, the politicians of the day and economic downturn have combined to muddy the waters on the benefits of ITS - and, indeed, on infrastructure as a whole getting the attention it needs and deserves. The delays to reauthorisation illustrate that as well as anything else.
"There are other pressing issues, such as healthcare reform, which go some way to making that more understandable but we hope with outreach that we can in some way turn the corner. At the end of the day, what creates jobs? Infrastructure is very important - it's a lifeline, in fact, the main artery of the economy.
If you're going to try and transfer goods from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach you're going to encounter a lot of adversity if you don't have the proper infrastructure. Application of technology is a vital element of that, and for that to happen we need proper funding."